Pauley out of rotation race


March 25, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -The Orioles' evolving rotation competition is down to six pitchers for three spots as manager Dave Trembley on Tuesday ruled out David Pauley for one of the starting vacancies.

"There are other guys ahead of him right now," Trembley said. "The two rainouts hurt us. We're coming down toward the end of this. I would highly doubt he'll get another start. If anybody gets another start, I'll try to get it for [Hayden] Penn because he got bumped."

Pauley, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox this offseason for reliever Randor Bierd, has struggled this spring, compiling an 8.18 ERA in five appearances (three starts). He has allowed 24 hits and two walks in 11 innings. The right-hander, who went 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 25 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket last year, is out of options, so he'll have to pass through waivers to go to Triple-A Norfolk. There is a remote chance he will make the Orioles' Opening Day roster as a long reliever.

"You don't want to settle, but if [Norfolk is] the place where you have to go to work on things or whatever it might be, that's what has to happen," Pauley said. "I think it's been a great fit for me so far. The opportunities are great. This is a great place to be."

With Pauley out of the picture, Penn, Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson, Brian Bass, Alfredo Simon and Danys Baez are in the running for the three spots.

Jones at No. 2

Trembley penciled seven names into the second spot in the batting order last season, but he appears to have settled on one this year. Trembley said center fielder Adam Jones will start the season as his No. 2 hitter, a move that will allow Melvin Mora to hit fifth.

"I think he's done a nice job," Trembley said of Jones. "Obviously, he knows the areas he needs to improve on. He's worked on it, and I think at the beginning of the year you'll probably see him, most of the time, hitting in the two spot."

Back home

Mora and shortstop Cesar Izturis rejoined the club after playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Second baseman Brian Roberts, who played for the United States, was also back in Fort Lauderdale, but he was battling a cold and excused from Tuesday's workout. Mora, Izturis and Roberts are expected to be in the lineup Thursday.

Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched for the U.S., came home early Monday morning in time to start against the Minnesota Twins, a couple of days after pitching coach Rick Kranitz publicly called for his return. Guthrie said Tuesday that he believed the club panicked in asking him to come home.

However, Guthrie met with Trembley when the team returned home from Fort Myers on Tuesday, and the manager insisted there is no animosity between the sides.

"I think we can all put the WBC and him behind [us]," Trembley said. "I don't think there has been any hard feelings on anybody's part. I think the guy did what he felt that he had to do. All that was said from our end was we wanted him back, we needed him back. I think there was a lot of that sentiment echoed throughout Major League Baseball by a whole lot of other people whose players were at the WBC."

Around the horn

Trembley said Chris Gomez and Jolbert Cabrera would be the two candidates for the final bench spot if the club decides to go with 13 position players. ... Former designated hitter Harold Baines has been elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame. Baines spent parts of seven seasons in three stints with the Orioles from 1993 to 2000, batting .301 with 107 home runs and 378 RBIs in 666 games. ... Longtime Orioles community relations director Julie Wagner will receive the Herb Armstrong Award, given to nonuniformed personnel who have made significant contributions to the club and the game of baseball.

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